Filed In: Essie

Essie · Winter 2017 Collection


I feel like I’ve been see-sawing between seasons, showing upcoming Spring/Summer Collections (CHANEL), then veering back to Winter with yesterday’s OPI post as well as today’s offering; oh well, that’s just the way things go at times. But back to nail polish and this Essie Winter 2017 Collection which may look like a nicely curated grouping boasting the usual suspects (red, nude-ish hues), but then the brand throws in some unique twists to keep things interesting …



Essie Gel Couture · Ballet Nudes Collection


Say what you will, no brand understands feminine and dainty better than essie, and this latest Ballet Nudes Collection (CAN $13.99/each) certainly backs up what I’m saying. Of course, the fact that these lacquers come in essie’s new gel couture™ formula doesn’t hurt either; created to be long-wearing, it’s also the revolutionary brush that makes all the difference in the world between a mediocre and totally flawless application. So basically, the nail polish aficionado + ballerina wannabe in me have just come together in perfect harmony.

Inspired by the elegance of the ballet — from the costumes (think: pastel, shimmery tutus) to the choreography (embodied by the uniquely twisted bottle and brush wand design), these shades are meant to be applied to your bare nails, then finished with the specially formulated top coat … no base coat or curing lamp needed.

Note that none of the swatches shown have top coat added — I wanted to show how glossy they are even on their own.


Luxury inspo? CHANEL Fall/Winter 2016-17 Haute Couture Collection


Lace Me Up | A white based baby pink hue that applies relatively streak-free, with any patchiness seen by the first coat easily smoothing out with a second layer. You’ll need at least three thin coats to reach the opacity seen here.

Perfect Posture | Pale lavender/periwinkle hue with white undertones in the base, in a formula that’s was easy-peasy to apply: self levelling, non-patchy & coming to a glossy finish. Two coats seen here.

Satin Slipper | A light nude/beige with ultrafine pearly shimmer that may be a bit difficult to see unless direct light hits the nails, although it does add depth. As this formula has some translucency, you’ll need three thin coats to reach the opacity seen here.

At The Barre | A soft flesh toned nude with pink undertones in the base, thus making it universally wearable by a broad range of skin tones, with a formula that’s quite effortless to apply. Two coats seen here.

Hold The Position | A warm rose hue that’s surprisingly non-streaky in application (for something in this colour family, that is), falling in a self-levelling way and with good opacity as well. Two coats seen here.

Closing Night | A unique mix of light blue & soft-wash grey that’s filled with undercurrents of metallic blue shimmer which provides a slight shift seen in certain lighting. The formula here is a touch runnier than the rest, but still very easy to work with and apply. Any translucency seen with the first coat becomes totally opaque by a second layer. Two coats shown here.

You know that Spring is near when brands start busting out all the pastels (with neons & brights not far behind for Summer), and essie certainly managed to capture the essence of the ballet with this collection. My favourites are hands down Closing Night (I mean, just look at it), and Satin Slipper (even if it does take a bit more effort in application), although Lace Me Up falls totally in my white-loving wheelhouse and At The Barre is one of the easiest nudes you’ll wear. I was actually surprised by how much I liked Hold The Position, but as someone who’s not that big a fan of pink, well …. let’s just leave it here.

Available at salons & retailers nationwide


PR samples/All opinions my own

Essie · Winter 2016 Collection


For the Winter 2016 Collection, Essie’s taking us back to mod London in the swinging 60’s by bottling the free-loving spirit of the time with 6 shades that range from lush crèmes to shifty shimmers. Get your go-go boots on and cue the Austin Powers opening number, because it’s about to get Groovy, Baby.


Essie · Winter 2016 Collection


Essie · Winter 2016 Collection


Go With The Flowy | ‘Cloudlike Dove-Grey’, this is a greyed-out white hue with ultrafine silver shimmer & blue reflects. The formula has an odd thickish consistency (I want to say it reminds me of oatmeal, but without the lumpiness) although it still manages to apply in a self-levelling way and comes to a glossy finish. There will probably be some patchiness with the first coat, but a second layer smooths everything out just fine. Minimal shimmer spread upon removal.

Coats: 2 plus Gel Setter Top Coat


Essie · Go With The Flowy swatch, Winter 2016 Collection


Oh Behave!‘Minx Peach Frost’ — close, but I see more of a pink/coral that’s filled with delicate gold & pink shimmery ribbons. The formula leans towards a crème-jelly hybrid and while the first coat might appear semi-sheer, a second layer brings it to pretty decent opacity. Self-levelling and glossy, I love that moiré look of the shimmer, while the colour actually reminds me of well-worn ballet slippers.

Coats: 2, plus Gel Setter Top Coat


Essie · Oh Behave! swatch, Winter 2016 Collection


Getting Groovy‘Metallic Palladium Gold’ (apparently palladium is a chemical element that resembles platinum. I looked it up), this is a pale gold with both cool & warm undertones and basically metallic perfection: excellent flow, density, opacity & brilliance. I would even avoid top coat, as that might actually dull its reflective shine. There will be shimmer spread at removal, so take care.

Coats: 2, no top coat


Essie · Getting Groovy swatch, Winter 2016 Collection


Ready To Boa‘Glistening Bronzed Mahogany’ — definitely. It’s one of those lit-from-within or fireplace-banked-embers kind of shade, with burgundy & topaz reflects and just so much gorgeousness. In other words, I see this as the perfect Fall shade but it’ll do for Winter as well. The formula can almost be a 1-coat-wonder, laying down in a super pigmented way, fully opaque by the first coat, self-levelling and coming to a hi-shine finish. While thicker than the rest of the group, it still applies quite easily without any pooling at the cuticles or nail sides.

Coats: 2, plus Gel Setter Top Coat


Essie · Ready To Boa swatch, Winter 2016 Collection


Satin Sister‘Sleek Ebony Peacock’. What? Um, more like a drop-dead lush teal crème that shows some jelly-like characteristics: a plush cushiony look and a slight spring-back effect upon application. Super creamy and smoothly laying, this baby has excellent colour saturation and — get ready for this — is non staining upon removal. I know, right?

Coats: 2, no top coat. I repeat: NO TOP COAT


Party On A Platform‘Towering London Garnet Red’, and while I’m not exactly sure what the Tower of London connection is, the colour is spot on: an insanely pigmented & colour drenched garnet/deep carmine crème hue, with some jelly-like tendencies. A true 1-coat-wonder, it’s also self-levelling and über-glossy at the finish. Seriously, this is one red for the books.

Coats: 2, no top coat (I mean, does it look like it needs it? Pfftt)


I wasn’t initially sure what to make of the theme for this collection, but the more I played with the shades, the more it seemed to fit. In fact, it should have been name Essie’s London in the Swinging 60s Winter 2016 Collection. Stand-outs for me are Ready To Boa (because it’s just so rich. Ugh), Go With The Flowy (because I cannot resist anything white-ish) and surprisingly (to me), Getting Groovy (because, metallic. And gold.). Truth to tell, you really can’t go wrong with any of these. Powers, out.


Available at fine salons & Essie retailers 



Press samples/As always, all opinions are my own

Essie | Gel Couture

Essie Gel Couture opener


Taking things up a notch in the nail lacquer game, Essie has just launched Gel Couture, a new range of polishes (42 shades in total) that draw inspiration from the fashion industry and are ready to take you from ‘the atelier to the after-party‘. The first thing you’ll notice is the bottle with its unique twisty shape, a feature that is not only visually exciting but created to fit ergonomically in the palm of your hand (honestly, it’s such a ridiculously comfortable fit; makes you wonder how no one had already thought of it). The other innovation is the patent-pending swirl-stem brush, designed so that the polish flows smoothly down to the brush, without any nasty blobs coming down to spoil the party.

This 2-step system (polish + Gel Couture Top Coat) aims to offer up to 14 days of chip-free wear without the need for UV or LED lamps – in turn making these polishes easy to remove, with the shades arranged in four colour families:

  • Atelier – embodied by the neutrals
  • First Look – embodied by the pastels
  • Fashion Show – embodied by the brights
  • After Party – embodied by the deeps

For anyone who’s ever complained about the tiny size of Essie’s brushes, you can now rejoice: joining the ranks of some of my all-time favourite polish brushes (such as Dior, Guerlain and the new L’Oréal Vernis à L’Huile) the brush in this range has been given an upgrade as well. Wider than before and with rounded yet tapered bristles that splay perfectly along the nail, you need very little pressure to apply product evenly and effectively, making the job so much easier than before.

Essie Gel Couture

Essie | Gel Couture

Essie First View

Essie | Gel Couture

Essie Gel Couture brush

Essie | Gel Couture (brush detail)

Essie Sheer Fantasy swatch

Sheer Fantasy | (Atelier) Sheerest baby pink with a hybrid crème-jelly formula that is definitely not meant to be opaque. Glossy, self-levelling and non-patchy, this is the perfect ‘palate cleanser’, and while I actually love the translucent effect at 2 coats, I gave it a third layer here to show the effect.

Coats: 3, thin + top coat


Essie Stitch by Stitch swatch

Stitch By Stitch | (Atelier) A soft bubblegum pink crème hue that applies in a buttery smooth way, showing good flow & coverage that leaves behind a glossy finish. Easy-peasy & oh-so-pretty, no?

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie First View swatch

First View | (Atelier) Cool-leaning baby blue filled with ultra refined prismatic shimmer, in a crème based formula that applies like a dream: even, excellent coverage and glossy at the finish.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie First View macro swatch

Essie Gel Couture | First View (detail)


Essie On The List swatch

On The List | (Fashion Show) A unique soft/hot coral hue in a crème-jelly hybrid formula that is pushing all the right buttons for me. Self-levelling, non-patchy, major colour saturation AND non-staining; this is DEFINITELY the epitome of what a Summer shade should be. Not to mention so much easier (and classier) to wear than neon. LOVE.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie Beauty Marked swatch

Beauty Marked | (Fashion Show) A blue-based (cool-leaning) deep cerise red hue in a crème-jelly hybrid formula that has insane colour saturation, flow and coverage even with the very first coat. Self-levelling and über-glossy, it’s also relatively non-staining (for such an intense red), although I’d still suggest a base coat for those with porous nails.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie Gala-Vanting swatch

Gala-Canting | (After Party) A deep berry/maroon hue in a crème formula that has hints of a jelly finish, making it not only self-levelling in application, but coming to a glossy finish as well. Beautiful flow & coverage, as well as non-staining upon removal, this shade makes nails look so elegant. BONUS: cloud reflections seen on my nails…proves how crazy glossy these shades are.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie Surrounded by Studs swatch

Surrounded By Studs | (After Party) A deep navy that’s chock-full of ultra fine blue & teal shimmer, giving this shade depth and a unique new vibrancy. Self-levelling and with a perfect density-flow-to-coverage ratio, you also have the added bonus of it being non-staining upon removal. Pretty stunning, wouldn’t you agree? Plus it’s edgy without coming off as just plain old black….so much love.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie Surrounded by Studs macro swatch

Essie Gel Couture | Surrounded By Studs (detail)


Summed up: every single one of the shades I’ve tried thus far (I have several more in the works to show you) are nothing short of amazing. Essie has absolutely killed it with this new Gel Couture range and I have nothing but the best things to say about these lacquers.

Essie Gel Couture (CAN $13.99) is available now at beauty destinations across Canada


Essie Gel Couture closer



Nail polish loveliness kindly provided/As always, all opinions are my own

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave opener


How do you celebrate a milestone? If you’re Essie, you do it with a glorious and uplifting happy yellow shade, give it a naughty name, then dress up the cap for good measure. Introducing … drumroll … Essie’s 1000th shade (1000 – how crazy is that?), Aim to Misbehave, limited edition and launching May 31 at all Essie retailers.

Essie Aim to Misbehave

I don’t own a lot of yellow shades, and off the top of my head I believe I have only one other Essie yellow, although it doesn’t come anywhere near the flecktastic glory of Aim to Misbehave. Created with Essie’s new ‘pearl technology’, this shade is an celebratory mix of sunshine & egg-yolk yellow that’s then crossed with ultra-bright gold — with a ton of incredibly fine pearly shimmer added for depth and just plain old FUN. It even has a happy, confetti-dotted cap (cute, am I right?). In other words, this little lovely has everything right going for it:

  • stellar formula: self-levelling application, excellent opacity, flow & coverage
  • non-streaky, non-patchy
  • unique and complex colour
  • ultra fine shimmer that lays down smoothly upon the nail
  • non-staining upon removal

All swatches: 2 coats + top coat


Essie Aim to Misbehave macro

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave cap

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration (cap detail)

Essie Aim to Misbehave swatch 1

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave swatch 2

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave swatch 3

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave swatch 4

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration


I have to hand it to Essie; they sure now how to get the party started and while yellow (whether it’s nail polish, makeup, or even clothing) is not something I wear all that often (as in basically never), once I applied Aim to Misbehave I literally did not want to take it off. Know why? It makes me happy. It’s crazy fun to look at. It’s so unique. All of the above.

So, spill: are we digging the yellow? let me know!


Essie Aim to Misbehave closer




Product sample kindly provided for my unbiased consideration